H.S. athletes would be randomly tested under bill

Originally Published: May 4, 2007
Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Some Florida high school athletes in three sports would be subject to random testing for anabolic steroids under a one-year pilot program passed Friday by the Legislature.

One percent of students who compete in football, baseball and weightlifting during the 2007-2008 school year would be tested under the legislation, which would become effective July 1 if Gov. Charlie Crist signs it.

Spokeswoman Erin Isaac said the governor would comment later Friday on the measure.

The Florida High School Athletics Association would oversee the tests of all of its 426 public and 224 private member schools. The bill includes $100,000 to pay for the testing.

Any athlete who refuses to provide a urine sample would be ineligible to remain on the team. Those who test positive would be suspended from the team, but could be reinstated if they pass a follow-up test later.

A message left at the FHSAA offices in Gainesville was not immediately returned.

New Jersey became the first state to start a testing policy for high school athletes last year. Its initial testing for performance-enhancing drugs found no users among 150 random samples, the state athletic association said.

Republican state Rep. Marcelo Llorente, a former college infielder at Tulane, has pushed for the legislation in Florida for several sessions.

"It's been a four-year endeavor, but I'm elated that both chambers passed the bill unanimously," Llorente said Friday. "I'm optimistic the governor will sign it."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press